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Court splits over motion for discharge ruling

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An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues in a Criminal Rule 4(B) motion for discharge case, disagreeing with the interpretation of language in Jenkins v. State regarding the relevant time for purposes of determining whether a defendant can file a pro se motion for a speedy trial.

In Corey Fletcher v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-1009-CR-1096, Corey Fletcher was charged Oct. 28, 2009, with various drug offenses. A public defender was appointed for him Feb. 19, 2010, and he was scheduled to go to trial May 11, 2010. Two weeks later, the appointed public defender was removed and the court appointed a new public defender. That same day, Fletcher filed a pro se motion for a fast and speedy trial. Fletcher’s new public defender didn’t file an appearance form until March 5, 2010, three days after Fletcher filed the pro se motion.

At a telephone status conference in April, Fletcher’s attorney objected to resetting the trial date past May 11. On May 12, the attorney filed a motion for discharge under Ind. Criminal Rule 4(B), which was denied. Fletcher was later convicted of two of the charges.

The issue is whether the trial court improperly denied Fletcher’s motion to discharge. The majority, after analyzing Jackson v. State, 663 N.E.2d 766, 769 (Ind. 1996), Underwood v. State, 722 N.E.2d 828, 832 (Ind. 2000), and Jenkins v. State, 809 N.E.2d 361 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), ruled the trial court did err. The majority disagreed with the holding in Jenkins to the extent that it implies that the appointment of counsel and not the appearance of counsel is the relevant time period for determining whether a defendant may file a pro se motion for a speedy trial.

The state had argued that, as was ruled in Underwood, “once counsel was appointed, Defendant spoke to the court through counsel.” Judge Ezra Friedlander agreed with the state’s position, writing in his dissent that Fletcher didn’t clearly object to the appointment of counsel, nor did he unequivocally express that he wanted to proceed with a hybrid representation, so it leads to the conclusion Fletcher acquiesced in representation by appointed counsel.

Because counsel had been appointed before Fletcher filed his early trial motion, the court wasn’t required to accept the motion for filing or grant it, he wrote.

The majority reversed the denial of Fletcher’s motion for discharge.

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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